Classifying Partner Femicide

Louise Dixon, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Kevin Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
387 Downloads (Pure)


The heterogeneity of domestic violent men has long been established. However, research has failed to examine this phenomenon among men committing the most severe form of domestic violence. This study aims to use a multidimensional approach to empirically construct a classification system of men who are incarcerated for the murder of their female partner based on the Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) typology. Ninety men who had been convicted and imprisoned for the murder of their female partner or spouse in England were identified from two prison samples. A content dictionary defining offense and offender characteristics associated with two dimensions of psychopathology and criminality was developed. These variables were extracted from institutional records via content analysis and analyzed for thematic structure using multidimensional scaling procedures. The resultant framework classified 80% (n = 72) of the sample into three subgroups of men characterized by (a) low criminality/low psychopathology (15%), (b) moderate-high criminality/ high psychopathology (36%), and (c) high criminality/low-moderate psychopathology (49%). The latter two groups are akin to Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart's (1994) generally violent/antisocial and dysphoric/borderline offender, respectively. The implications for intervention, developing consensus in research methodology across the field, and examining typologies of domestic violent men prospectively are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-93
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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